18 December 2008 12:38 PM

Teaching Children Math through Today’s Economy

by Dr. Rick

(Today, we have a special guest blogger. Judy Brown, mathematics program manager for Sylvan Learning, is discussing a few tips on how to use the effects of the fluctuating economy to teach children important math concepts. -Dr. Rick)

In my position as Mathematics Program Manager at Sylvan Learning, I am asked constantly about the changing trends of teaching math and new ways to make it easier for children to learn. One of the most effective ways, and a personal favorite of mine, to teach children math is to show them how math relates to everyday life.

While the current global economy is a turbulent time for families, there are ways to turn some of the economic information shown on TV or online into learning experiences by helping children grasp basic math concepts, without causing them undue stress about the overall economy.


Helping children develop the habit of demonstrating their knowledge of basic math, be it addition and subtraction, or multiplication and percentages, will serve to create a more stress-free but relevant way for children to learn these real-life concepts and carry it with them.


Here are just a few tips and examples you can use as a guideline for explaining math concepts to your children:

  • Have your child track the closing number for the stock market each day and calculate the difference as a number and a percentage.
  • Ask your child to note how the cost of gas varies from station to station in your town.  How much less would you pay at station #1 versus station #2 for a full tank of gas?
  • Use the changes in interest rates to pose a math question about how much interest your child would pay if she needed a loan to buy a toy.  How much interest would she earn if she placed her money in a savings account?
  • Use coupons to demonstrate subtractions skills. If a store doubles coupon values, have your child calculate the savings.  Or, if you use a coupon that takes cents off an item, have him calculate the new price.

I would love to hear any other tips, so if you have any, please share them below.

-Judy Ann Brown


Math | Opinion


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